Thank God it’s Existential Crisis Friday or TGIECF for Short

Do you ever feel like you are living on a hamster wheel? Like what the fuck is the point of it all?

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I broke this existential crisis down:

Basic things I need to live:
1. Food and water
2. Shelter
3. Clothing

Things that are most important to me in life:
1. Spending quality time with family, friends and loved ones
2. Traveling and exploring the world
3. Enjoying experiences that broaden my mind and enrich my soul
4. Learning, learning, learning
5. Reading
6. Music
7. Netflix

Here’s the conundrum, none of these things are materialistic, but ALL of these things need money and sacrificing a portion of one’s time.

To get money, one must work. Work essentially follows the following formula. I, the employee will trade you, the employer, my time, skills and energy to help your business. In exchange, you, the employer, will give me, the employee a dollar amount that fairly or unfairly represents my value to you.

This formula gets more complicated if you’re self-employed, but since most of us aren’t, we’ll stick the employee/employer formula.

When one works, one spends a large portion of their waking life at work, thus severely limiting one’s ability to do the things one enjoys most; spending quality time with family and friends, traveling and exploring the world, binge watching shows on Netflix, etc. Also, you can’t pay for rent and food and shoes so that sucks.

Possible solutions to aforementioned existential connundrum
1. Become completely independent without needing food, water, clothing, shelter by accidentally falling into a vat of radioactive waste that renders you immortal and self-sustaining.
2. Find a profession that inspires and excites you so that you don’t feel like you are continuously running on a hamster wheel.
3. Continue on your evolutionary path towards enlightenement through knowledge, gratitude, meditation and being present in the now.
4. Help others and get over your first world problems.
5. Ice cream.


Why be Happy When you Could be Normal?

I just finished reading “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” by Jeanette Winterson. The book is about Winterson’s childhood, her lifelong struggle to find happiness and her tumultuous relationship with her mother. What I loved most about the book was not so much the story but the flashes of wisdom embedded in the story; powerful sentences that forced me to reflect on my own experience and have interesting discussions with some friends.

On feelings and thoughts
“There is still a popular fantasy, long since disproved by both psychoanalysis and science, and never believed by any poet or mystic, that it is possible to have a thought without a feeling. It isn’t. When we are objective we are subjective too. When we are neutral we are involved. When we say ‘I think’ we don’t leave our emotions outside the door. To tell someone not to be emotional is to tell them to be dead.”

The quote above sparked an hour long discussion with a psychologist friend of mine. Can we truly have an objective thought devoid of emotion? Or are all of our thoughts intertwined with emotions?

On feelings avoidance
“I know our feelings can be so unbearable that we employ ingenious strategies – unconscious strategies – to keep those feelings away. We do a feelings-swap, where we avoid feeling sad or lonely or afraid or inadequate, and feel angry instead. It can work the other way, too – sometimes you do need to feel angry, not inadequate; sometimes you do need to feel love and acceptance, and not the tragic drama of your life. It takes courage to feel the feeling – and not trade it on the feelings-exchange, or even transfer it altogether to another person.”  

Another quote about how much emotions, or avoiding emotions, control and influence behaviors. It is ok to feel sad or lonely or scared, but it is not ok to be consumed by that emotion and not move past it.

On time This quote brings to mind the saying “it seems like only yesterday” because based on our perception it feels like only yesterday. We experience life as a series of intertwined and overlapping events as opposed to a linear sequence. 
So Why be Happy When you Could be Normal? is a nice easy read. Though the story is pretty sad,  those little reflections made it enjoyable. 

On education
“I did not realize that when money becomes core value, then education drives towards utility without the life of the mind will not be counted as a good unless produces measurable results.

Should education be solely based on utility or should it be a transfer of the culmination of aggregated human knowledge? I have had this discussion with some friends who majored in liberal art. As a business major, I am inclined to say that education should be a combination of both utility and knowledge. While education should never be completely utility based, and should include art, philosophy, history, humanities, it is important that education provide a means of supporting oneself. If business majors have to hustle to find a job to support themselves, art majors have to hustle 10 times more than that to pursue their art. What aggravates me is the sense of entitlement and laziness of some liberal art majors who do not want to put in the gut wrenching effort it takes to truly be an artist and be self reliant.

On time“I measure time as we all do, and partly by the fading body, but in order to challenge linear time, I try and live in total time. I recognize that life has an inside as well as an outside and that events separated by years lie side by side imaginatively and emotionally.” 

This quote brought to mind the saying ” it seems like only yesterday” when an experience feels so vivid as if it happened just yesterday. We experience time more as intertwining and overlapping moments rather than a linear progression of events.

Why be Happy when you Could be Normal? is a good read. Though the story is a bit sad, those reflective parts make it worthwhile.

What If?

What if everything we were told were lies?

What if bad things only happened to bad people?

What if we lived forever?

What if everyone was happy, healthy and in love?

What if everything had a happy ending?

What if there was no suffering?

What if the earth wasn’t suffering?

What if we all got what we wished for?

What if we all tried to change the world?

What if we all had someone to love who loved us in return forever?

What if you we did what we loved instead of what we were supposed to do?

What if we weren’t afraid?